A Los Angeles judge has dismissed the lawsuit challenging the mental competency of Viacom and CBS Corp. controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone filed by his former live-in girlfriend.
After six months of litigation, the case lasted only a single day in court. Expletive-filled video testimony given by Redstone that was presented Friday convinced Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Cowan to throw out the case.
Manuela Herzer, Redstone’s former companion and longtime confidant, filed the suit in the fall claiming Redstone was not sound of mind when he evicted her from his Beverly Park home and discharged her as his health care decision-maker. Cowan found that Herzer’s claims were inconsequential because the aging billionaire’s testimony made clear he no longer trusted Herzer, negating the need for a trial.
“The court has now heard directly from Redstone that he lost trust in Herzer, does not want her in his life and instead wants his daughter Shari to look after him if necessary,” the judge’s ruling reads. “Redstone is free to make this decision for whatever reason, even if for a poorly thought out or erroneous reason.”
Redstone’s attorneys applauded the ruling in statements after Monday’s hearing.
“Mr. Redstone is grateful that the Court dismissed this case and honored his stated wish to keep Manuel Herzer out of his life and health care decisions,” a statement by Gabrielle Vidal of Century City’s Loeb & Loeb reads. “Mr. Redstone looks forward to spending time with his loved ones in peace."
Herzer’s attorney, Century City-based Pierce O’Donnell, said he would appeal the decision. The Greenberg Glusker partner also immediately filed a new suit against Redstone’s daughter Shari and several other parties claiming they conspired to turn the former Viacom chairman against his longtime companion. The complaint alleges the group’s actions cost Herzer $70 million.
“This lawsuit seeks to hold Shari and her henchmen responsible for their criminal acts in intentionally destroying Herzer's special relationship with Sumner and causing Sumner to disinherit her, thereby losing her $70 million inheritance,” the filing reads.